WASHINGTON — Henry C. Wallich, a governor of the Federal Reserve board from 1974 to 1986 and its leading authority on international economics, died Thursday. He was 74.
An announcement released by the Federal Reserve said Wallich died at George Washington University Medical Center after an extended illness. He had been in failing health since undergoing surgery for a brain tumor in 1985.
Wallich was appointed to the Federal Reserve by President Richard Nixon on March 8, 1974, following a career that encompassed work as a journalist, Treasury official and presidential adviser. He resigned from the board in December of 1986 because of his health.
Ally of Volcker
During the Carter and Reagan Administrations, Wallich was considered an ally of then-Chairman Paul Volcker.
Wallich was regarded as one of the central bank's most ardent inflation fighters.
"Like burglary, inflation is an extralegal form of redistribution," Wallich once wrote. "Unfortunately, many economists share with politicians the habit of always regarding inflation as the lesser of any alternative evils."
Upon his retirement, Wallich was praised by Volcker as "first of all, an inflation fighter, deeply committed to the needs for currency and financial stability. That belief motivated his service on the board, and he brought to that effort a combination of theoretical insight and practical experience rare in any individual."
Wallich took a particular interest in theories of portfolio management and took pleasure in joking to friends on Wall Street that they could do just as well in the stock market by throwing darts at stock tables.
Under President Dwight Eisenhower, Wallich served from 1958 to 1959 as an assistant to Treasury Secretary Robert B. Anderson and from 1959 to 1961 as a member of the President's Council of Economic Advisers.
Born June 10, 1914, in Berlin, Wallich was educated in Germany and Oxford University in England and he earned a doctorate in economics at Harvard University.
During the 1930s, he was a securities analyst in New York City and was in the export business in Argentina and Chile.
From 1941 to 1951, he was on the staff of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York before becoming a professor of economics at Yale University from 1951 to 1974. He took a leave of absence for his appointments in the Eisenhower Administration.
He is survived by his wife, Mabvle Inness Brown; his mother, Hilegard, and three children.